A facility vacant for five years on Cedar Rapids’s southwest side will soon find life as a manufacturing facility once again.
The plant at 1125 Wilson Ave. SW will manufacture semi-finished material into molded shapes, said Ken Aurichio, Sealed Air’s executive director of corporate communications.
“The typical applications that we’re manufacturing them for are protective packaging,” Aurichio said. “If you have a bottle of wine, instead of using the Styrofoam made of plastic material, this uses what’s called mycelium which are mushroom roots as well as some other waste like corn stalks.”
The facility will employ a couple dozen to start, he said. Aurichio added employees already are working at the facility in preparation to begin manufacturing.
He said full manufacturing will start at the site before the end of the year.
“We’re going to be sourcing some raw materials within the area,” Aurichio said.
The plant, which operated for 58 years, manufactured packaging for the food industry.
When the Sealed Air Cryovac plant closed, 257 employees lost their jobs. The bulk of production was shifted to plants in Mexico, Arkansas and South Carolina.
“We’re always encouraged to see companies come into the community and reuse facilities like this building and look forward to the success of the company and their continued involvement in the community,” said Joe O’Hern, interim director of community development for the city of Cedar Rapids.